I'll spare you all the historic details of the Star Wars movie franchise and lengthy history of the Topps sets issued in the wake of the world's most popular Space Opera saga (40 plus years strong and counting) but do want to focus on an esoteric issue from 1978 today. Commonly referred to as Star Wars Movie Photo Pin-Ups, Topps printed 56 different images on the backs of sugar free gum wrappers in 1978 as the frenzy around the first Star Wars movie (now known as "A New Hope") continued unabated.
These interior wrapper images are nothing special and were clearly just pumped out with very little editorial effort:
These measure about 2 7/8" x 3 5/16" once opened and flattened but the real money shots are the four exterior wrapper varieties:
Also of particular interest to me, is the little production rip along the blank edge of these wrappers (which images come from, I believe the Twitter feed of one "Mr. Non-Sports"), although where R2-D2 has gotten to, I'll never know. I've covered this rip in depth previously here and keep progressing the end date for same as I examine newer sets. The rip is not from opening the packs but rather a result of the packaging process at the factory. I'll leave it to you all to determine if this should hugely impact the grading of such affected items but it's interesting that the original equipment used to produce the first Topps confections in 1938 was still in use forty years later. It was described as "ancient" by Topps in 1938 so its exact age is far older.
The box is pretty nice too:
I grabbed that from www.chrismonin.com and you should head over there if you want more details on this set as he has an exhaustive page on it with the full set illustrated along with plenty of ancillary material.
As noted by Mr. Monin, the set didn't sell well and it's not all that easy to find these days. The real standout though, is a bit of a Topps anomaly, namely a full box wrapper:
The trumpeting of the lack of saccharin was a direct result of of the Saccharine Study and Labeling Act of 1977, which required warning labels for products using this artificial sweetener. I'm not sure if this extra wrap was to maintain the freshness of the gum, draw attention to the lack of saccharin or some kind of attention grabber for the retailer but it's pretty neat no matter what its purpose.
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